The environment in which seeds germinate also plays a role in the outcome. While there are several different germination methods, each requires proper moisture, minimal handling, and warm springtime temperatures between 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit.
Soil is an easy, more natural method with which to germinate your cannabis seeds because the soil protects the fragile roots from any interference. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Preparing to germinate cannabis seeds
The best germination method depends on the cultivator’s choice. Here are some of the most common ways to pop your cannabis seeds.
Lay one paper towel on top of a countertop, place a few seeds, and cover them with a second paper towel. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Place the soil in a small pot and use your finger or a pencil to push a small hole in the dirt, a bit more than half an inch deep. Insert the seed into the hole and bury it with soil. From this point on, don’t touch your seed. The young plant is fragile and knows how to position itself in the soil bed.
For the typical homegrower, it may be easier to obtain cannabis seeds rather than clones. Growing from seed can produce a stronger plant with more solid genetics.
With cloning, you don’t have to get new seeds every time you want to grow another plant—you just take a cutting of the old plant—and you don’t have to germinate seeds or sex them out and get rid of the males.
How weed seeds work
Some seeds germinate very rapidly while others can take a while, but generally, seeds should germinate in 3-10 days. If it’s been two weeks and a seed hasn’t sprouted, it’s probably a dud and won’t sprout.
Some varieties of cannabis can produce male parts alongside female flowers on the same plant, especially if exposed to environmental stressors. These plants are known as hermaphrodites, and sometimes they can self-pollinate to create seeds.
A couple big drawbacks, though: Autoflower strains are known for being less potent. Also, because they are small in stature, they usually don’t produce big yields.
If you don’t like the idea of pre-soaking your soil, you can use a spray to moisten the holes before you plant each seed. With enough moisture surrounding your seeds, you can still encourage a root to develop.
The soil pots will need small holes (roughly 10–15mm deep) for the newly germinated seeds to be placed into. Once the seeds are secure, you will want to place a fluorescent light 13–15cm (5–6 inches) away to encourage growth. Finally, don’t risk overwatering your seeds at this early stage. Use a plant mister to make sure they stay damp but not soaking wet.
Timescales can vary, as it all depends on how ideal your germination environment is (see the golden rules above). Even the worst grower could make a seed germinate, but it may take a few weeks and, of course, increases the risk of a weaker plant.
WET KITCHEN TOWEL METHOD
Your growing pots will need to be placed in a damp climate that is within the temperature range listed under our golden rules. After 4–10 days, you should see a young seedling sprout, while the roots will have begun to develop underneath the soil. The entire plant and its soil can now be transferred to a larger pot, where normal growing routines should start.
Often overlooked, it is all too easy to assume that the vegetative and flowering stages of cannabis growth are the most critical parts of the plant’s life cycle. However, with the chance of failure high unless you know what you’re doing, poor planning when it comes to germination can make or break your next grow. Giving your cannabis seeds the best possible start on their journey to bulging buds is a surefire way to encourage a healthy and robust plant.
To avoid disappointment, seeds that have a darker colouration stand a better chance of germinating, while pale green or white seeds are likely to fail. Even if dark seeds look slightly damaged, they should be planted anyway. There is a good chance they will still germinate, even if the outer shell is somewhat crushed.
Arguably one of the least effective methods, but it is still viable. Incredibly simple to facilitate, beginner growers may opt to germinate their seeds in a glass of water. Half-fill a glass or bowl with water that is approximately 22°C (71°F).